Deep River Reckoning
The Reckoners series, an original novella
The journey of a woman recently passed strikes close to home for Garrie and Trevarr, as living and dead clash over the mysteriously damaged spirits of the Rio Grande. Set in The Reckoners paranormal romance series, in which a spirit-busting young woman once mentored by a ghost tangles with a fiercely driven demon-hunter from a different dimension.
(I wanted an excuse to write a Reckoners story, so I ran a contest...the winner shared a few details to allow me to jump start the ghost. Of course, as uncontrollable as my muse is, she quickly did as she wanted to with those details. It was a great start, and a pleasure to work with the ghostly namesake!)
Lisa McGarrity walked the narrow asphalt path running along the Albuquerque Rio Grande levee and breathed deeply of the day. Birdies singing, bunnies scooting across the path to alfalfa fields in the middle of the city, and cottonwood fluff everywhere.
A farking Bambi cartoon come to life, and what was Garrie doing?
Looking for dead things.
Dead things stalking joggers, dead things spooking bikers...dead things owning the Paseo del Bosque.
Twisted cottonwood trees lined the landward side of the path, shading it; Trevarr stalked the path beside her, duster flapping around his legs in disregard for the heat, substantial boots treading the path's crumbling asphalt edge as he gave the water-filled levee a wary eye.
"I told you," Garrie said absently, most of her attention on the subtle inner sensations that served as ghost radar, "nothing bigger than fish in there. And no ghosties lurking at the moment."
"Fish," he repeated, flatly skeptical.
"Rainbow trout. Trust me. Not a killing sort of fish."
Sklayne butted into the conversation from whatever form he'd taken and wherever he'd gone, his mind voice full of purr. ::Tasteee.:: No doubt he wore his Abyssinian cat form—or a lynx-like version of same—although he was also perfectly happy to look like nothing at all.
As long as he had something to snack on.
"Just tell me you caught the fish yourself," she said, not bothering to look for him, "and didn't steal it from some clueless fisherman."
::Caught it myself,:: Sklayne said promptly. Trevarr gave Garrie a sidelong glance, eyebrow minutely raised behind the sunglasses that protected light-sensitive pewter eyes.
Garrie cleared her throat. "That was not convincing."
Sklayne offered a thoughtful pause, then tried a more earnest tone. ::Caught it myself!::
"Gahhh," she said.
Trevarr's hand touched her shoulder, drifted away. Amusement, affection...and reminder. Sklayne was what he was.
Amusement, affection, reminder...and promise. For there was always promise in Trevarr's touch.
Garrie shrugged off a little shiver, knowing it. She let it settle into a tiny, private smile—and went back to thinking about dead things.
"Left!" Loud and warning, that voice behind them. A swish of tire, a flash of garish biking clothes, an insect-like helmet—and the biker cruised past, never the wiser that Trevarr's hand had moved for the preternaturally sharp blade named Lukkas.
Garrie saw the arrested motion well enough. "Uh-huh," she said.
Trevarr made a disgruntled noise.
Adjustments. On his world, no being dared to brush so close—not to him, not to those he loved.
Then again, on his world, he was now exile.
A sudden acrid scent trailed across the back of Garrie's throat...a gurgle of resentment through her mind. She cast around for the source of it, instantly dropping into reckoner mode. An oily splash, her eyes stinging—
She blinked hard, realized she was still walking—heading right off the edge of the path with the steep bank directly before her and Trevarr's hand on her shoulder, stopping her.
She snorted dark amusement, tugging at the spiky-short hair behind her ear. "And that would be why I don't like to do these things alone."